Refugee settlement plan launched for Fairfield City

Published Thursday, 22nd June 2017

About 18 government and non-government agencies today launched a new action plan to help guide the settlement of refugees in Fairfield City.

The settlement agencies involved in the Action Plan include service organisations and support groups, as well as government agencies, community leaders and Fairfield City Council.

Fairfield City usually welcomes about 1,000 refugees a year into its community. In 2016 this number increased to about 5,000 refugees from 1 January to 31 December 2016, with a further 1,700 received in the first five months of 2017.

Fairfield City Mayor Frank Carbone said Fairfield City receives the largest number of refugees compared to any other local government area in Australia.

“Fairfield City has always played its part in refugee settlements and our community has opened its doors and welcomed new arrivals,” he said. “In turn, refugees have taken opportunities and made a great contribution to our community.

“In the past 18 months, however, our refugee intake has increased significantly.

“Last year we received about one fifth of Australia’s total humanitarian intake, and about 51% of the NSW intake,” said Mayor Carbone.

“This major increase has placed additional pressure on local service organisations who are working hard to keep up with increased demands.

“The Fairfield City Settlement Action Plan has been developed to help guide the work being carried out by service organisations who are involved in the settlement of refugees.

“It outlines issues and challenges associated with refugee settlement and aims to identify solutions and actions to help address those issues.

“It will also provide a more coordinated and collaborative strategic approach to settlement services in Fairfield City.

“But while a significant amount of work is being done for refugee settlements, a great deal more is still needed.

“The Federal Government needs to ensure adequate funding and resources are allocated for the settlement of refugees in our community.

“Not only does this include more support for service organisations, but also more funding for local facilities and infrastructure projects to support an ever growing community. This includes committing extra funds for such things as housing, medical services, youth services and job creation projects.

“While Fairfield City always plays its part, the Federal and State Governments also need to be accountable and must make sure that the need to resettle refugees has no impact on existing residents.”

Fairfield City is built on the back of cultural diversity with more than half of the existing population born overseas and about 70% speaking a language other than English at home.

The Action Plan follows about 12 months of planning and consultation with about 50 agencies, organisations and community leaders. It aims to improve settlement services and outcomes for new and existing residents across Fairfield City and the wider South West Sydney community.

Actions in the Plan focus on a range of issues including the physical and mental health needs of refugees, appropriate education and training for young people, employment opportunities, recognition of overseas skills and qualifications, community safety and crime prevention measures, housing needs and more.

Launching the Action Plan during Refugee Week helps to highlight how important this issue is for the Fairfield City community and the wider Sydney area.


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